Online Poker Guide

The first game of real money online poker was dealt on January 1, 1998. This historical event occurred at Planet Poker. It was a hand of 3/6 Fixed Limit Texas Hold’em. The ability to play No Limit Texas Hold’em, sit and gos, and tournaments was still years away. Today, the landscape of online poker is dramatically different.

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Much has changed since that first hand of online poker. The technology to shuffle hands and build secure sites has improved substantially. Today’s online poker sites are as secure as online banking systems. The same encryption is used to guarantee that the games are safe, funds secure and financial information kept secret.

US Online Poker Site Reviews

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Online Poker Guide

Best US Online Poker Sites

United States Online Poker

Players in Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey have regulated online poker available. Since the poker online poker in these states are regulated, there is an extra layer of protection as the sites are governed by the same gaming commissions that oversee brick and mortar casinos.

Players at regulated sites have a few additional requirements to play. The minimum age is 21. Players must give a Social Security Number to open an account. Geolocation is used to ensure that a player is located in the state to play poker. This is done through wifi positioning or cell phone geolocation.
Players at regulated poker sites must be within state lines to play. Each site is limited to players only within that state. None are networked with sites in other states at this time.

Nevada Online Poker

Tremendous efforts have been made to bring back the legality of online poker to the United States. In the big picture of it all, very little has been accomplished. However, Nevadans have been back in action for a few years now. On December 22, 2011, just a few months removed from Black Friday, the Nevada Gaming Commission set forward the process of trying to bring Internet poker back to the Silver State.

After all of that reached a resolution, the first Internet poker site to return to Nevada was on April 30, 2013, a site called Ultimate Poker. The Station Casinos were the ones operating the site, and promoted it greatly inside their properties. Players had the luxury of depositing or withdrawing from their accounts right at the casino cages. This was certainly a nice reprieve. When the UIGEA was passed, even though it was still doable, getting money in and out of your poker accounts was not so easy. This was just part of why Internet poker games also continued to progressively get harder and harder to beat. The majority of the players willing to jump through all of the hoops were the serious players.
Ultimate Poker took off right away. Hundreds of players were on it from the first day. The only people allowed to play were those inside of Nevada. It did not matter if you were a resident of Nevada. In order to ensure that no one just outside the borders of Nevada could play, if you were within a mile of the border, your action was rejected.

On September 17, 2013, was launched, and within a number of weeks had already taken over as the top site. It had been heavily promoted during that previous summer’s World Series of Poker, which helped take players away from Ultimate Poker. The software was way better, and there were many more games available. Texas Hold’em has been the most popular game for years, and that was all you could play at Ultimate Poker. WSOP had 7 card stud, 7 card stud 8/B, Omaha, and Omaha 8/B. It was a far more complete site. Ultimate Poker could not hang. November 17, 2014 was the last day of Ultimate Poker’s short lived existence.

A third Internet poker site entered the mix on February 19, 2014. The site was called Real Gaming, and run by the local South Point casino. Player could deposit and withdraw right at the cage. The only game offered was also Texas Hold’em, and you could only play cash games or single table tournaments. It never stood much of a chance. The graphics and software were weak. Hardly anyone played on the site at a given time; maybe a few dozen people. Stories circulated regarding collusion. Of course, collusion is always going to be a threat when playing online, but for a lesser known low key site that barely has anyone on it to begin with, it already looks the part for potential cheaters to set up shop. The site is believed to have folded sometime during the summer of 2016.

So it is if you are wanting to play Internet poker in Nevada. The VIP program is called The Action Club. Players may earn anywhere from 8-35% rakeback based on how much monthly rake they pay each month. As a new player, you will receive a 100% initial deposit bonus as great as $400. Also, after you make your first deposit of $10, you get tickets for 7 $100 freeroll tournaments. These expire after 7 days.

On July 2, 2015, hosted its first ever bracelet event during that summer’s WSOP. The buy-in was $1,000. They played down to 2 players on the first day, and those 2 met each other to finish the event at the Rio on July 4. This event was repeated during the 2016 WSOP, and will presumably continue in the years to come. During the spring and summer, there are numerous satellite events offered to players to try and get into various WSOP tournaments. Some of these events you may enter for only $1. Others are total freerolls.

The No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha cash games start for as small as 1 cent/2 cent and they progress from there by multiples of 2. The PLO tops off at $25/$50 and NLH goes up to $200/$400. The 7 Card Stud hi and 8/B fixed limit games begin at 5 cent/10 cent and get up to $10/$20.
The fixed limit Hold’em cash games start at 5 cent/10 cent and go up to $150/$300. There are no limit games for Omaha Hi. The limits for Omaha 8/B start at 5 cent/10 cent and go up to $50/$100.

The single table Sit-n-Go tournaments start at $1 and go up to $200. You can play a 1 on 1 heads up tournament, 6 handed, or 9 handed. They are also offered as turbo, or super turbo tournaments if you are looking for a fast and furious outcome. All other tournaments also range from the $1 to $200 entry, with the occasional special tournament that requires $500 for entry. $500 events are usually reserved for things like wanting to qualify for the $10,000 main event tournament.

Or if you are just looking to play some poker for fun and don’t have any interest in winning or losing any money, playmoney cash games and tournaments are offered for all of the said poker games.

New Jersey Online Poker

Along with Nevada and Delaware, New Jersey remains the only other state to have passed any legalization for online gaming. After Black Friday shut everybody down on April 15, 2011, less than 2 years later, Bill 2578 was signed in February of 2013 making Internet gambling, and poker legal again.
Revenue was estimated to bring in a billion dollars in just its first year, but this proved to be setting the bar way too high as only excess of $100 million was generated. Well over half of that was obtained through online casinos and not online poker.

Even though expectations had fallen overwhelmingly short, this was still substantial progression made on the long road back to getting Internet poker legalized across the states. With New Jersey’s population of 9 million, more than double of Nevada’s and Delaware’s combined, it still remains as the most exciting of the 3 states to keep an eye on as Internet poker progresses.

After Bill 2578 came through, New Jersey wasted no time in getting Internet poker action back in rhythm. Inside of one year 6 sites were opened. Caesar’s and Bally’s of Atlantic City were each associated with 888 Poker. The Tropicana teamed up with the Gamesys Group, The Borgata with Digital Enterinament, Trump Plaza with Betfair, and Trump Taj Mahal was also part of Ultimate Poker, the first Nevada poker site to revive online poker.
In time, many of the original NJ online poker sites closed down. In 2018, launched pooled playing fields, where players in DE, NJ and NV could all play on the same site for the first time in a regulated environment.

Online Poker Games Available

The most popular online poker game is No Limit Texas Hold’em. This game allows players to bet the entire stack in front of them at any time. The game is spread in the form of cash games, sit and gos, and multi player tournaments at all online poker sites. It is the same game spread by the World Series of Poker Main Event.

All poker sites offer more games than just Texas Hold’em. Omaha and Omaha High/Low are available at any online poker room. Most spread Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud High/Low. Other games available include Five Card Draw, Five Card Stud, Razz, Badugi, Triple Draw, and mixed games that include a variety of these selections.

Online Poker versus Live Poker

Having been in and around poker for 10 years I always thought I preferred live play over playing on the internet as that’s how I learned the game before there ever was internet poker.  However, I’ve been playing quite a lot of poker recently, both live and online, and I have to say I now think I prefer to play online. Let me tell you why:

  • The speed of the game. With Online Poker you can play a minimum of 60 hands per hour on a 10 handed No Limit Hold’em table. Compare this with about 30 hands per hour in a live game. And that’s with a good dealer.
  • Live you can only play one table, although I have on occasions seen players try and play two! Online you can play up to 8 tables at once.
  • There are no dealer errors online. No misdeals, no exposed cards and you always know exactly how much is in the pot and how much the other players have in front of them. And you don’t have to tip the dealer!
  • The rake is a lot lower online. Land Based Casinos have to charge more because they have more costs and not as many tables.
  • Tournaments start every 10 minutes as opposed to only one or two per day in a real casino.
  • You can play naked if you want! And if you haven’t done this you really should try it!
  • The online poker room is always open and in a very convenient location. You don’t have to worry about driving to your local casino or trying to get even before they close at 4am.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, is the number of players in an online cardroom compared to a real cardroom. How many players can your local cardroom accommodate? 100, 200 or even 500, it’s nothing when you have online rooms with 50,000+ players. What this means is that you can always get a game at the time you want and at the limits you want. There are always new players to keep the games going and fill the empty seats.

Finding a Good Online Poker Site

Listed at the directly underneath are those online poker rooms which I currently recommend. All of the poker rooms which are featured provide players with good liquidity in terms of the number of players active and a great variety of different poker games to choose from.

These reviews are small in number and currently do not cover poker rooms available to play for US players, but this is an area we hope to introduce in the near future. Likewise, other territories we will be focusing on will include those Australian Poker Rooms and also poker sites which cater to Canadian players.

In addition, all the poker rooms which are reviewed and recommended also feature tables for all players, inclusive of no limit and limit games to choose from. If you like partaking in tournaments you will also be pleased that all the poker rooms listed run numerous tournaments throughout the day, 7 days a week.

Poker is not a hard game to learn how to play. It is, however, a difficult game to master.

In poker, for the most part, there are only a few rules to the game, so playing ‘perfect strategy’ in terms of what hands to go for and whether or not to stay in on a pot really isn’t the hard part. Getting good at poker means learning how to use the intricacies of the game to your favor, like reading your opponents, using your bluffing skills and knowing when to cut your losses or feed the pot.

What Players Want: Lessons from Full Tilt Poker’s Comeback

You can learn a lot about developing an elite poker site from the biggest failure online poker has ever seen.

It would be easy to write an article about what Full Tilt Poker did wrong. One could fill untold issues of CEM with even a casually detailed account of the once-mighty online poker room’s epic collapse. What often gets lost is that Full Tilt developed one of the most innovative and, for a time, successful products in the industry.

Emulating Full Tilt feels counterintuitive. But with the U.S. online poker market evolving in a highly fragmented and hyper-competitive direction, any opportunity to skip a step or two on the learning curve is worth investigating—and Full Tilt turns out to offer a better opportunity than average. Following are five things that Full Tilt got right, and that any other operator ought to, too.

1. Online poker is not just live poker played online.
Full Tilt excelled at leveraging the unique characteristics of online poker (primarily a player’s ability to occupy multiple seats simultaneously) into wholly new and exciting ways of playing the same old game. Rush Poker, where players are drawn from a cloud and tables are formed on the fly, generated intense interest among players and spawned an industry of imitators. Smaller twists like multi-entry tournaments were more novelty in nature but were still evidence that Full Tilt was always thinking about ways to embrace—heck, to assert—the online in online poker.

American operators will do well to adopt a similar attitude, eschewing attempts to simply recreate the live poker experience in a virtual setting. Effectively free of constraints like place and space, online poker is astoundingly more flexible than live poker. The rooms that test this flexibility to the fullest will be the rooms providing players with the most engaging overall experience.

2. Poker players want to feel cool.
A significant part of poker’s appeal is the (highly idealized) archetype of a successful poker player: an autonomous risk-taker relying on wit and courage to carve out a living on their own terms. What Full Tilt understood better than every other room was the power this image holds over a broad spectrum of players.

At Full Tilt, pros weren’t just successful—they were extremely cool. Aided by the steady aesthetic of Full Tilt’s marketing materials (a mashup of noir, old Vegas and Reservoir Dogs), photogenic site pros such as Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen and Patrik Antonius provided a veneer that made the whole outfit seem closer to Patek Philippe than to PokerStars.

But putting good-looking people in black suits is hardly revolutionary. The secret sauce was not giving players a vague aspirational goal à la “I want to be Phil Ivey.” It was giving them a multitude of ways to, at least theoretically, advance toward that goal. You want to be Ivey? Well, you could dress like him—just purchase his jersey from the Full Tilt rewards shop. Or you could learn to play like him—hop on Full Tilt’s virtual rail for a front row view of Ivey and his opponents swapping six-figure pots. You could even learn to think like him—just watch Full Tilt’s commercials featuring Ivey’s internal monologues. And the ultimate step in the mythic journey was often hovering only a few clicks away: you could challenge the man himself.

“Learn, chat and play with the pros.” Full Tilt’s original slogan says it all. After all, to be the best, you have to challenge the best. And Full Tilt was where the best played. That was the highly persuasive, if not altogether accurate, narrative the old Full Tilt Poker advanced at every opportunity.

The takeaway for operators: A brand that incorporates an idealized version of the professional poker player is a good first step, but providing players ways to engage with and adopt that image for themselves is what elevates the brand into a culture.

3. High-stakes games are highly leverageable.
No online poker room made more out of its nosebleed action than Full Tilt Poker. The benefits of steady high-stakes action at an online poker site are largely obvious, but worth repeating nonetheless:

• Just like Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio, high-stakes online games provide a tangible aspirational target for players at lower stakes.
• High-stakes games generate storylines for the narrative-starved poker media. The best of these arcs (such as Guy Laliberté’s rumored stint at the Full Tilt nosebleeds) can dominate the conversation for weeks at a time.
• On occasion, high-stakes games produce marketable stars (such as Viktor “Isildur1” Blom or Tom “durrrr” Dwan) with a very compelling pitch: “I got here, and so could you.”
• High-stakes games provide the closest thing online poker has to a highlight reel, a key component for garnering mainstream interest.

High-stakes games aren’t all upside and may prove more difficult to support in a tightly regulated market. But their benefits are too substantial to ignore outright.

4. There is no liquidity without risk.
It’s easy to forget that Full Tilt Poker was a mid-tier room before the UIGEA passed, battling now-defunct networks like Paradise and Cryptologic for Party Poker and PokerStars’ leftovers. Staying in the U.S. market post-UIGEA—a risk that competitors like Party Poker deemed excessive—nearly doubled Full Tilt’s market share overnight and sparked a growth spurt that lasted right up until April 2011.

The battle for players in a post-regulation U.S. market will be fierce. A solid product combined with a strong brand and high-level celebrity endorsements won’t be enough to win the day. Obviously, I’m not suggesting operators charge aggressively into the darker-shaded gray areas of the law (although PokerStars might disagree on that point). What I am saying: Operators with a minimum-risk plan for online poker that relies on strong fundamentals to drive steady player base growth over the long term are already in trouble.
To put it in motivational poster speak: Go big or go home.

5. Be many rooms for many people.
Full Tilt Poker did a good job of building a room that simultaneously appealed to players of many skill and experience levels. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Build a room too obviously targeted at casual players, and you turn off those who view themselves as “serious” players. Build a room too centered around hardcore players, and you might overwhelm and alienate the casual crowd.

There are a number of ways to solve this riddle; Full Tilt did it primarily through a combination of upfront simplicity and readily accessible depth. Their lobby was a good example. You could easily jump right into games with a few clicks, but you could also access powerful filters and additional tools for a more customized, and more complex, lobby experience.

A less direct, but still interesting, example of how Full Tilt catered to multiple audiences with conflicting desires simultaneously is player avatars. At Full Tilt, players could choose from a range of cartoony avatars ostensibly aimed at recreational players (such as a ninja, a Venus fly trap and a mummy) with a selection of expressions (angry, confused, happy, etc.) that could be used in-game. The avatars were free, easy to use and easy to ignore.

But Full Tilt also used the humble avatar to appeal to the hardcore player. If you won a special tournament event, you were rewarded with an exclusive avatar, and custom avatars were available in the rewards shop only to players who had paid massive amounts of rake.
Full Tilt Poker is likely to remembered for Black Friday above all else. And while that is a part of the site’s history—not to mention a valuable cautionary tale—the legacy of a business is generally not a zero-sum game.

American operators looking to mine online poker’s past for valuable insights would be wise to keep this fact in mind. Failing to do so risks wasting time and resources relearning crucial lessons one could easily glean by analyzing the first incarnation of Full Tilt Poker.

Real Money Poker Game Rules

This might seem like common sense, but it’s surprising how many people sit down at a real money table and aren’t even sure what a hand is worth. It’s also surprising how many people have no idea how to play a particular type of poker, yet happily lose money at it without knowing the rules in full. If you need help with hands and/or game rules; read up first: How to Play Poker for Beginners

Learn the Odds of Making Your Hand

Make sure you know not only what hand beats what, but how likely a hand is to come up at any given time. It’s one thing to know that two pair isn’t as good as a Flush – but it’s just as important to know what the chances are that your opponent actually has that Flush dealt. This will help you read a bluff.

You should be able to determine the likelihood that you will improve your hand (before it’s completely dealt) and the chances of your opponent having a hand that beats it. If you don’t, how do you know when to stay in the round and when to fold?

Learn to Calculate Pot Odds

Every time you’re required to feed the pot you should be asking yourself – what’s the pot value versus how much money I have to put in? It’s simple risk management – if you have a 1 in 10 chance of taking a pot, but a 1 in 20 chance of having the winning hand on the table – fold!

Over the long run, you’ll win more money if you stay in on games where the chance of taking the pot outweighs the risks.

Don’t stay in every hand!

It goes along with assessing the amount in the pot, but starts earlier than there. If you’re dealt a hand full of crap – fold! Provided you’re not bluffing, why put in any more money than you have to when the odds are against you. The reason most people stay in on a bad deal? ‘Because it’s boring to fold and wait for the next hand.’ That’s not something you’ll hear a professional player say, ever.

The exception to this is the occasional bluff. It’s still not wise to stay in without a decent hand if someone else has initiated the raising and appears to have a hand. However, if you never put any money on the table without having 4 of a kind first, people will eventually figure it out. When that happens, the pots will be small on your winning hands because people will know to fold.

Find people that aren’t as good as you!

It’s simple, there are people at different skill levels for every game – why play against the pros? If you can find a table full of people that you can beat – play there! Poker’s about winning money, not trying to match your skills for the biggest challenge.

Bluffing in Poker

Bluffing is the act of raising the pot in a round of poker in the hopes of making other players fold, without actually having a good hand to back up the bets and/or raise(s).

For example, playing with a group of friends you’re dealt a pair of two’s – but there’s no-one else raising on the table, so you raise the maximum amount and fake a quick smirk as if impressed with your hand. The 2 people left on the table decide to cut their losses rather than feed the pot and fold. You win with a lowly pair and rake in the pot. That’s bluffing.

Why Should Someone Bluff?
Assuming proper poker strategy is played, bluffing is actually the one factor that turns poker into a true game of skill. It serves two main purposes:

It allows you to win hands even when you’re not dealt a ‘winning’ hand.

It allows you to win bigger pots when you are dealt a winning hand.

Lets explain. As in the example above, you can see how it’s possible to win a pot even when you’re dealt squat – there are times when the players around you don’t have much of a hand either and would rather fold and cut their losses than for the win. Of course, you don’t have to have an awful hand to bluff – you’re just assuming that you don’t have the best hand at the table (if you think you have the best hand, you’re not bluffing now are you? :).

You’ll need to bluff occasionally to get bigger pots out of the table. It’s simple actually if you only raise when you’ve got a good hand – it doesn’t take long for other players to notice and act accordingly. Sure, your good hands will still win the pot, but if everyone folds on your first raise you won’t be winning much – so players need to believe you’re at least capable of bluffing.

But that’s the beauty of bluffing – you can do it so many ways. You can act like someone that doesn’t bluff and then turn into one that does, and watch people fold on your worst hands. You can intentionally bluff too much then watch everyone feed the pot not knowing you have four aces in your hand.

No single bluffing technique will work at any given time, it depends on who you’re playing with and whether they’ve caught on! Try to mix up your strategy before people get wise to you.

Don’t be too predictable. In some cases, you’ll want to appear predictable to get players doing what you want, but if you don’t change your habits from time to time you’ll start losing fast.

Bluffing doesn’t usually work when there’s a packed table of people still in on the hand. Don’t expect 5 other players to fold on your pair of 2’s, chances are someone has a good enough hand to stay in.

People are less likely to fold in split pot games like Hi/Lo because they’ve got a better chance of winning half the pot than they would in a ‘winner takes all’ game. This is especially true for Hi/Lo, when many players will qualify for a low hand. Bluff accordingly.

Know when to fold ’em. It’s inevitable that you won’t win every hand that you’ve bluffed on – sometimes your opponents will have strong enough hands to stay in no matter how much you raise. It’s a bad habit to fold every time a player raises your bluff (unless you want people to know every time you’re bluffing). At the same time, it’s bad for your stack of poker chips to follow all your hands through when it’s obvious you’re going to lose.

Bluffing in Online Poker

There’s no denying that there’s more intricacies to bluffing when you’re playing with people face to face, as your gestures, demeanor and what you say can all play a part in your bluffing strategy (or determining other peoples bluffing habits). When playing online poker you don’t get to ‘see’ people, so bluffing is reduced to your actions on bets and raises throughout multiple hands. Still – it plays an essential part of any poker game, so be sure to make it part of your game, online or off.

Poker Hand Rankings

Royal Flush
The five highest cards, the 10 through the Ace, all five of the same suit. A royal flush is actually an ace-high straight flush. Which suit it is doesn’t matter in poker. Two people with royal flushes would tie.

Straight Flush
Any five cards of the same suit in consecutive numerical order. Our example shows a five-high straight flush.

Four of a Kind
Four cards of the same denomination. Our example shows four jacks with a deuce kicker.

Full House
Any three cards of the same denomination, plus any pair of a different denomination. Ties are broken first by the three of a kind, then the pair. Our example shows sevens full of threes.

Any five non-consecutive cards of the same suit. Our example shows a queen-high diamond flush.

Any five consecutive cards of mixed suits. Ace can be high or low. Our example shows a six-to-ten straight.

Three of a Kind 
Three cards of the same denomination. Our example displays three of a kind, fours.

Two Pair 
Any two cards of the same denomination, plus any other two cards of the same denomination. If both hands have the same high pair, the second pair wins. If both pairs tie, the high card wins. Our example shows two pair, eights and fives.

Any two cards of the same denomination. Our example displays a pair of nines. In a tie, the high card wins.

High Card
If no other hand is achieved, the highest card held wins. In our example, the king of hearts is the high card.

How Casino Poker Tournaments Work

Casino Poker Tournaments are a great way to immerse yourself in an intense day of poker. Most tournaments operate by charging a buy-in and a fee generally noted like this: $100+$10 – which means you pay $100 toward the prize pot and $10 to the poker room for hosting the tournament.

Once the players have bought into the game, each player receives the same number of chips and regular poker play commences and goes on until 1 player has won all the chips. That player takes the prize pot.

To make sure the tournament progresses faster blinds increase at predetermined intervals, which range anywhere from 15-60 minutes depending on the structure of the tournament.

Fun Poker Facts

Whether you consider yourself good or bad at poker I’m sure you’ll enjoy these fun facts about poker.

Playing cards were invented in China

A fifth suit was added in 1937 but never caught on because people had to buy all new decks

At least 65,000,000 Americans regularly play poker

Dead mans hand is Ace’s and Eights

Getting dealt 10 , 2 is referred to as Doyle Brunson because he won back to back World Series with the hand.

In the 1800’s, 2,000 to 2,500 riverboat gamblers played poker on American Waterways, By contemporary accounts, no more than four of these poker players were honest all the time. A straight beat a flush at this time.

Las Vegas Casinos are not legally obligated to pay off there gambling debts

Due to French Influence, Spades represent Royalty, Diamonds represent Merchants, Clubs represent the peasants, and hearts represent the clergy.

Edmond Hoyle lived to be 97, but diesd 150 years before Poker was invented.

Playing cards were introduced in Europe in the 1300’s

When Columbus landed in 1492 in North America, his men plucked wide leaves from trees, drew pictures on them and played cards.

Historians generally agree that Bill Hickock was a lousy poker player.

Groucho Marx got his name from carrying his poker money in a “grouch bag”

Former President Richard Nixon won $6,000 playing poker in his first two months in the U.S. Navy during WWll. That’s roughly equal to $42,640 in 2004 dollars. He used that money as well as more poker winnings to finance his run for the U.S. Congress in 1946, for which he won.

The saying ‘a chip and a chair’ comes from tournament poker and means that so long as you’ve got a chip left then you have a chance to win.

It originates from the 1982 World Series of Poker where Jack Straus was down to only one $25 chip early in the tournament, but staged a remarkable comeback to win the event and become World Champion.

Thus the old ‘chip and a chair’ adage is now widely invoked by short stacked tournament players all over the world.

So if you do happen to be down to your last chip or chips in a tournament, here are some tips that might enable you to perform a Staus–like miracle:

  1. Although Straus was down to a single chip, that was because he lost a big pot where his opponent had one fewer chip than he did.  Try not to let yourself go that low. When you have only 3 big blinds it really is time to make a stand.
  2. Although a multi-way pot might give you a chance to treble your money or more, you are also more likely to go bust. Furthermore, your opponents are likely to check the pot down when you are all-in to try and eliminate you. (This is not collusion and is good tournament strategy) The best chance you have to get more chips and stay in the tournament is against just one other player.
  3. The hands you should be looking to go all-in with and try to double up are hands that can win on their own without any help from the community cards. For example an Ace-rag rather than a Jack-Ten.
  4. Position is still important, even when short stacked. If you choose to go all-in under the gun it is more likely that you’ll get one or more callers behind you, and someone will probably have a better hand.
  5. Keep your eye on the size of your stack in relation to the blinds at all times. Although you might be very short stacked one minute, a couple of double ups might allow you to adjust your strategy and not be looking to find an opportunity to go all-in and double up.

So next time you take a bad beat in a tournament and find yourself the low stack don’t lose heart and think of Jack Straus. Until next time.

Online Poker Deposit and Withdrawal Methods

The best online poker deposit methods are ewallets. Neteller and Skrill are the most popular ones available. Americans cannot deposit by ewallet in most states. For those players, Visa, Mastercard, and Western Union are the most popular deposit options.

Ewallets are the best way to get paid by poker sites outside of the U.S. Americans can request a check for free that takes about a week to arrive. Western Union is an option that puts cash in hand in just a few days. There is typically a fee for this fast withdrawal option.

Online Poker Deposit Bonuses

All online poker sites offer an initial deposit bonus to new players. It is usually described as a 100% up to a certain dollar amount. This means that the site matches your deposit with bonus money.

Online poker bonuses differ from casino and sports betting ones. A poker bonus goes into a separate account. It is not awarded immediately. Players must earn points to clear a poker bonus. It is usually equivalent to 10-30% rakeback, depending on the site. It often clears in increments of $5 or $10. Most poker sites give a set amount of time to clear a bonus. This is typically somewhere between 30 and 120 days. Some sites will void any remaining bonus if a withdrawal request is made before meeting the terms and conditions. Always make sure to read the bonus rules to see what the qualifications are before playing.

Online Poker Reload Bonuses

Some sites offer bonuses to existing players that have already made a deposit. This is called a reload bonus. These often come during slow periods like the winter holidays or to celebrate a special event such as a major online poker tournament.

Some sites simply offer a reload bonus every month. The terms are usually the same for reload bonuses as they are for the first deposit one.

Is Online Poker Safe?

There was a day that the answer to this question was no. That day is long gone. Online poker sites offer encryption for all cards and banking transactions that are the same ones used by large financial institutions. The sites do not get hacked. Virtually every site in operation is reputable and has stood the test of time. Many have been in business for 10 years or more, which is a lifetime on the Internet.

There are a few shady sites out there that do not operate legitimately. That does not apply to any of the poker rooms promoted on this site. We stand by all of our selections and play at these sites ourselves.

Poker is a game that has been around, in various forms, for hundreds of years. Today there are a virtually infinite list of different poker games to choose from. Texas Hold’em was largely popularized during the poker boom of 2003, when Chris Moneymaker became the most fitting World Series of Poker Main Event champion possible.
While poker has always been in casinos, not every casino had an actual poker room. This changed in the early 2000s, when, at one point, just about every casino in the country had a poker room of one form or another. As the poker boom itself began to slow down into the 2010’s, many casinos were forced to close down their poker rooms due to lack of traffic. Plus, casinos know they can monetize the square footage that a poker room requires in much easier ways.

Poker Guide

Bad Beat Jackpots
Cash Game Poker
Tournament Poker

Types of Poker

There are a number of different poker games that are played in card rooms around the world. As each decade passes, many games have risen and fallen in popularity. In the 70s and 80s, Stud games like Seven Card Stud and Razz were the most popular. These, and other limit games, were the only poker games that you would be able to find until the late 80s and early 90s, when No Limit games like Texas Hold’em began to take over the poker landscape.
Omaha Poker
Seven Card Stud Poker
Texas Hold’em Poker

Current Poker Environment

Today, No Limit Texas Hold’em remains the most dominant game in the United States and around the world. Falling right behind NLHE in popularity is Limit Hold’em, the toned down version of No Limit poker, where players can only raise one blind increment at a time.
Playing Poker Professionally
World Series of Poker
After these games comes Pot Limit Omaha. PLO is one of the most gambling intensive, action driven games around. If you are playing PLO, you should expect to be involved in many all in hands. This is not a game for the faint of heart. Many believed that PLO would eventually become the most popular form of poker once No Limit Texas Hold’em died down, but this idea never quite came to fruition. Instead, PLO remains the second choice of gamblers, but it is a favorite among high stakes players because of its very risky and volatile nature.

Biggest Poker Regions

Poker is a game that is played around the world. For the most part, neither currency nor language can break down the universal language that is the game of poker. Whether you live in Macau, China or Palm Beach, Florida, No Limit Texas Hold’em is spoken in the same way. If you have the money, you can play the game anywhere that it is available.
Delaware Poker
Florida Poker
Maryland Poker
Las Vegas Poker
Los Angeles Poker
Philadelphia Poker
Poker is most prominent, naturally, where casinos with table games are in existence. Until the past few decades, this meant that you could only play live poker in either Atlantic City or Las Vegas. Today, however, casinos across the country offer poker.
In California, poker is typically offered in a “card room” which, while called a casino, usually only offers a handful of table games in addition to poker. These card rooms do not have any slot or video poker machines like you would find in a major casino. With the exception of Indian owned land, casinos in California are all basic card rooms. In other parts of the country, poker rooms are built into regular casinos.
For the most part, the main poker regions can be broken down by East Coast, Florida, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. There are other parts of the country, like Oklahoma, where large poker rooms exist, but they do not constitute full poker regions. In the East Coast, players can drive just a few hours and play in either Atlantic City, Philadelphia, or Baltimore. In Los Angeles, close to a dozen rooms can be found within a short distance (at least in terms of miles). And, of course, Las Vegas is the mecca for casinos and poker events alike, with the World Series of Poker being most notable.
There are many differences that exist from region to region, with some being more noticeable than others. For example, most East Coast and Los Angeles poker rooms offer bad beat jackpots, but almost no Las Vegas rooms do the same. Another big difference can be found in how rake is charged. Los Angeles is notorious for very high rake, collected according to number of players dealt in a hand, while AC and Las Vegas each have a relatively small take. From here, typical buy in structures change from region to region, as does game availability, skill levels, and more. As you experience poker in a variety of areas, you will begin to see the differences.
Each poker region has its own quirky histories and nuances. With time, regulations and dynamics of each region change, and World Casino Index stays ahead of the curve with our poker section.

Areas Missing Legal Poker

There are still many areas of the United States where live poker is simply not available, or at least not in a legal establishment. You can go to just about any city and find an underground game if you do enough searching, but this brings with it a lot of risk and uncertainty.
If you choose to play in these home games or back room games, you need to be willing to take the associated risks. Poker rooms in New York City, for example, are known for their big time action and loose players, but they are also known for frequent crime and busts from the police. Casinos and poker rooms continue to pop up throughout the country, and we expect to see legal poker rooms expand even further in the US with the addition of more casinos.
In the United States, accessibility to online poker is very limited. Though online poker helped give rise to poker as a whole, the UIGEA act of 2006 helped to, for all intents and purposes, kill the landscape of internet poker in the US. There are many different offshore online poker sites that are available to US players in the majority of states. In Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, players can play on legal, regulated online poker rooms. For the most part, however, as of now, the best poker options for players in the United States will be found in safe, legal, brick and mortar casinos.